Sunday, September 9, 2012

How Gygax almost killed my PC... from beyond the grave...

Tell me if you've heard this one before: A sleestak walks into a time doorway...and ends up in Castle Zagyg

Yesterday, my morning private English student cancelled.  My wife took our son to his art class.  I was home alone.  What to do?  Why, find a FLAILSNAILS game on G+, of course!  Joe the Lawyer has been running players through Troll Lord Games' Castle Zagyg, which was Gary's last published version of Castle Greyhawk before he died.  And it was a blast, even if I had to leave a bit early.

A short play report:

Thidrek the Sleestak, having reached the rank of Hero, is summoned to the underwarrens below Fort Low.  He must prove himself worthy to join the Library of the Skulls when he passes by entering a Time Doorway and finding success beyond.  The doorway opens up on the world of Krynn, where Castle Zagyg has appeared and is under siege from a dragon highlord's army.

Thidrek teams up with a motley crew of adventurers.  [I should have written down everyone's characters' names, but I didn't.  Sorry.]  There were a Barbarian, an Illusionist, several Halfling Thieves, a Dwarf Fighter, a Magic-User (Elf or Human? Don't remember).  It was a big group, and a bit chaotic IRL with the DM and 9 players.

Anyway, the Illusionist and Dwarf have explored quite a bit of the ruins before, but the remains of the main keep have not been entered.  We head down into the dungeons to bypass the moat and other defenses.  We find a very large room with magical circles for summoning demons and a pair of stone golems guarding it, but as we don't mess with anything they leave us alone.  The next large room was the charred remains of a library, with stairs leading up.  Suspecting a trap on the stairs, we were very careful before proceeding.

At the top, we find the main hall.  Ghosts feast and revel within.  Invisible servants wearing white gloves gesture for us to sit at the high table and enjoy the food there.  After a bit of attempted interaction with the ghosts (no response), we eventually gave in to our curiosity about the food.  And as should be expected in a Gygax module, it was the feast version of the deck of many things.  Thidrek ended up quaffing a goblet of wine, which the roll I made for it revealed it to be poison.  Luckily I've got those awesome Labyrinth Lord Halfling saving throws.  I just barely made my roll.  If I'd still been 3rd level I wouldn't have made it.  Other effects included turning green, getting Haste applied, and being polymorphed into a bumble bee (the barbarian).  Luckily Thidrek was carrying some Hive bug powder and was then able to communicate with the bee (who, by sampling more food, ended up with a voice as loud as a lion's roar).  Another player (one of the halflings, I think) got stuck with a fishy smell that wouldn't go away.

Anyway, after that, our bee scouted the next room and found two bandits and two guard dogs.  We surprised them, took out one dog and one bandit, and the others surrendered.  We tied up the dude and took him along as our Gimp door opener.
Next we found a large chamber with several smaller chambers nested within.  Some empty storage lockers, a hallway with valuable tapestries, and a couple of bunk rooms, each with a lone bandit (one was a sergeant).  We took them down and looted their rooms, finding a bit of treasure.

About this time several players had to go.  I stayed another 30 minutes after that, and Jason Kielbasa joined us with another Magic-User and his bugbear henchmen, but as I said, I had to go.  Thidrek was called back through the Time Doorway (his share of the loot delivered by Dimensional Express the next day), ending his hero-quest.

I'm not sure when I'll have another chance to play in some FLAILSNAILS games, but I'd like to.  I also wonder if any DMs would be willing to let me play a Flying Swordsmen PC in their D&D/AD&D/retro-clone game...


  1. You had me at sleestak! Sounds like a absolute blast of a game. The barbarian into a bumble bee, bugbear henchmen and a time doorway. Joe is doing it right. Oh, and the sleestak of course.